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Types of Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect

Tell us what happened. We can help you get justice for your loved one.

Nursing home abuse and neglect cases can cover a wide range. Sometimes, a nursing home employee does not perform a task, which results in an injury. The nursing home may hire unqualified employees or violate regulations, which may result in harm to residents. These are examples of neglect.

Other times, an employee might intentionally cause serious harm to a nursing home patient.  Such actions constitute abuse.

But many cases are not so clear cut. Nursing homes often deny any wrongdoing. A loved one who was harmed by such actions - or inaction - might not remember what happened, or might be too afraid to report an incident. That's why it's important that you have someone on your side who understands the law and knows how to identify the warning signs of nursing home abuse & neglect.

Attorney George S. Johnson understands what your family's going through. That's because he's worked with families throughout Georgia dealing with such serious cases. As your attorney, he will make sure your case receives the attention it rightfully deserves. He knows how to investigate abuse and neglect allegations. He's not afraid to take aggressive legal action, including filing a lawsuit against the nursing home if necessary.

What type of abuse or neglect case are you dealing with?

There are many different forms of nursing home neglect and abuse.  Some of the most common cases we handle at our law firm involve:

Whatever type of injury you're dealing with, you need to take immediate action to protect your loved one's health and legal rights. First, make sure a doctor you trust examines your loved one as soon as possible. Then contact our law firm right away to know your rights.

"How can George S. Johnson help my family?"

George S. Johnson can handle all the legal aspects of your case. He can report the abuse or neglect to the appropriate agencies. He can put the nursing home on notice about your allegations.

But you need to take action promptly so George can begin building a case. A delay could hurt your chances of getting justice for your loved one. The evidence needed to build a strong legal case might no longer exist in a few months or weeks or even a few days. Used medical equipment often gets discarded. People's memories fade.

George possesses the ability to understand complex problems surrounding healthcare cases. He knows how to listen and knows how to act. He understands which evidence can often make a dramatic difference in the outcome of a case. He regularly consults with experts in their field. And since he's familiar with the legal system in Georgia, he can effectively build a strong legal case without wasting valuable time. Find out how he can help you. Contact our law firm and schedule your free case evaluation today.

Bedsores

Patients may develop painful bedsores if nursing home staff leaves them in the same position for hours or sometimes even days. In order to avoid pressure sores from developing, nursing homes need to move patients regularly, especially if a patient is confined to a bed or a wheelchair.

Also known as pressure ulcers, bedsores can become infected, especially when they progress to stages III and IV, when tissue and bone are exposed. This can result in serious health problems such as:

  • Sepsis – bacteria in the bloodstream
  • Bone infections
  • Cancer

Poor diet and malnutrition are other common causes of bedsores. Whatever the reason, it's critical that you contact our law firm right away. We can help you get the proper medical care and document the injuries so there's no doubt later about the severity of the bedsores.

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Sepsis

Untreated infections develop into sepsis, a term used to describe a body's reaction to bacteria in the bloodstream or a severe infection. Sepsis can result in organ failure (particularly the kidneys), dangerously low blood pressure and even death in certain extreme cases. Warning signs of sepsis include:

  • High temperature (over 101 degrees)
  • Elevated heart rate (over 90 beats per minute)

Any type of infection—including infections that can occur with bedsores—can develop into sepsis. If not treated properly, elderly people with weak immune systems who develop sepsis can go into septic shock. Their blood pressure drops dangerously low, and they suffer permanent organ damage or even death.

Your loved one's life could be in danger. Seek immediate, emergency medical attention, and then contact us. George S. Johnson has a proven track record of success in holding negligent nursing homes accountable.

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Urinary tract infections

Elderly people who use a catheter to urinate sometimes develop a urinary tract infection (UTI).  In nursing homes, UTIs can be linked to unsanitary conditions and neglect. These types of infections can cause permanent kidney damage or potentially fatal sepsis infections if a nursing home fails to monitor signs and symptoms.

Urinary tract infections can be extremely painful. Depending on the location of the infection, the pain can occur in the urethra, the bladder or the kidneys. Symptoms of a urinary tract infection include:

  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Blood in urine
  • Pelvic pain, especially in women
  • Strong smelling urine

If your loved one developed a urinary tract infection at a nursing home, seek immediate medical attention. Then contact our law firm. We can help you hold the facility accountable. We can also help you find another nursing home if necessary to care for your loved one.

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Other infections

Along with sepsis and urinary tract infections, some of the most common infections nursing home patients develop include:

  • Pneumonia – Infection caused by bacteria in the lungs. Pneumonia can be very serious in nursing homes and spread rapidly among patients.
  • Diarrhea – Contaminated food or water can cause severe diarrhea, which can result in sudden weight loss, dehydration and other medical problems. Nursing home patients can develop diarrhea due to unsanitary conditions and improperly washed food.
  • Infected pressure ulcers – Bedsores are the most common type of pressure ulcers. But these infections can develop in nursing home patients even if they are not confined to a bed. And if untreated, such skin infections can cause serious health problems.
  • Scabies – Nursing home patients can quickly develop scabies, an itchy skin condition caused by small insects (mites) that burrow underneath a person's skin. Unsanitary conditions at nursing homes often a common cause.

When a nursing home fails to monitor signs and symptoms of infection, it can have serious consequences for patients. Does your loved one have an infection that you suspect is from neglect? Contact us. We can help.

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Dehydration

When elderly patients do not drink enough water, they can suffer from dehydration. Over time, nursing home patients who consistently do not receive enough fluids can develop serious health problems, including:

  • Heatstroke
  • Kidney failure
  • Seizures
  • Swelling of the brain (cerebral edema)

If you suspect a loved one is suffering from dehydration, contact our law firm immediately. Common symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Confusion
  • Dry skin
  • Headaches
  • Little or no urination
  • Sunken eyes
  • Low blood pressure

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Malnutrition

Nursing homes have an obligation to feed patients enough food and provide them with a healthy diet that contains enough protein, vitamins and minerals. When they fail to do so, patients can suffer serious health problems, including:

  • Unhealthy weight loss
  • Lack of energy
  • Brittle, dry skin
  • Organ failure

How does a resident suffer malnutrition? In some cases, the nursing home may not have enough staff. One person may be responsible for ensuring proper nutrition for a dozen or more residents - while the ideal ratio is to have one staff member responsible for two or three residents. In some nursing homes, the high turnover rate means that some new staff members might not have the proper training and experience to ensure that people get a proper diet.

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Choking

Many elderly people in nursing homes have trouble swallowing food. This can be due to a neurological disorder, cancer or the effects of aging. As a result, there is a risk of choking when they eat.

Nursing home residents also face other choking hazards. Medication may make it difficult to breathe. Impaired patients can accidentally get their head caught between bed rails. Oxygen tubes can become obstructed. Or an infection might produce mucus that blocks the airway and is hard to clear.

Nursing homes have a responsibility to be aware of the choking hazards their residents face and take steps to protect them. If your loved one had a choking incident in a nursing home, contact us. We will find out what really happened.

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Poor hygiene

Nursing home patients often cannot care for themselves. Many residents rely on staff members to bathe and wash them regularly. The staff must be responsible for changing patients' bath towels, sheets, bedding and clothing.

When nursing homes fail to do such tasks, patients may develop serious health problems. Injuries or illnesses often associated with poor hygiene at nursing homes include:

  • Skin infections
  • Cold sores
  • Diarrhea
  • Cavities (tooth decay)

If you suspect something, say something. Tell the nursing home, and then contact us. We can help you hold the facility accountable for its actions.

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Broken bones

Elderly nursing home patients often break bones in their arms, hands and hips due to slip and fall accidents. Sometimes, these accidents occur because of unmarked obstacles (water on the floor, janitorial equipment, etc.). Other times, older people fall because they're undernourished or not receiving the proper medical care. They may be medicated and need additional supervision, but be left alone because the nursing home did not hire an adequate number of employees.

Even worse, some older people sustain injuries that result in broken bones because of abusive behavior by nursing home staff members. These workers, who might not have been screened properly prior to being hired by the nursing home, might push a patient to the ground. They might not have received proper training to work with vulnerable nursing home residents. For example, they might squeeze a person's arm or hand too hard and break a bone while moving a resident from a bed.

Depending on the severity of the break and which bone was broken, injured residents might not be able to walk or function normally for several weeks or months. If they broke a bone in their hip, they might even need surgery to replace the broken bone and have to spend months in wheelchair during their recovery. Whatever the circumstances, contact us. We're here for you.

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Physical abuse

If you notice bruises or other unexplained injuries, immediately tell the nursing home management and contact the police. Bruising, broken bones and other serious injuries can be sign that your loved one is being physically abused by staff members.

Physical abuse can cover a wide range. Examples of abusive behavior by nursing home staff members include:

  • Hitting patients
  • Slapping
  • Shaking
  • Beating

Often, abusive staff members will deny any wrongdoing, or they might claim your loved one actually caused the injury. Or even worse, your family member might be afraid to speak up out of fear of further abuse.

You know your loved one best. If you suspect abuse, take control. Contact our law firm today. We can investigate your abuse claim and make sure your loved one is not harmed again.

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Other abuse

We also handle claims of other types of abuse, including:

  • Verbal abuse – Staff members sometimes scream at patients and berate them.
  • Psychological abuse – From ignoring patients to threatening or ridiculing them, psychological abuse can have a devastating effect.
  • Sexual abuse – Rape, sexual assault and battery are serious crimes. If you suspect your loved one's rights have been violated, contact the police, and then contact us.

Your abuse case matters to us. That's why we want to meet with you and explain all the legal options available to your family in Georgia. We're here for you when you need us most.

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Medication errors

Inexperienced or inattentive nursing home workers often make mistakes when tasked with giving patients medications. When errors take place, the consequences can be severe. Patients might experience severe medical problems and even die if they do not receive the right medication. Examples of medication errors include:

  • Dosage errors – Giving a patient too much or not enough of a certain drug.
  • Wrong medication – Some staff members accidentally give the patients the wrong medications.
  • Adverse side effects – When certain drugs are mixed together, they can have side effects that cause serious harm to the patient.
  • Expired medications – If a drug is past its use-by date, the medication might be ineffective in treating a patient's health problems.

If you suspect your loved one's health problems are due to a medication error, get emergency medical treatment right away. Your next step should be to contact our law firm. We can work with you every step of the way to make sure your family member's case gets the attention it rightfully deserves.

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Unexplained death

If your spouse, parent or another family member died unexpectedly at a nursing home, don't assume it was due to old age or natural causes. Many nursing homes will say that's what happened. But the reality is sometimes residents die before their time because of abuse or neglect.

If you suspect something about the death of a loved one, immediately contact the police. The death could be a criminal matter. Then contact our law firm. Attorney George S. Johnson has years of experience investigating wrongful death cases involving nursing home residents throughout Georgia.

Under Georgia's Statute of Limitations, you have up to 2 years from the time of death in most cases to take legal action against a nursing home. That might seem like a long time. But building a strong wrongful death case often takes months or years of hard work. Get the justice your family deserves. Contact our law firm today.

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Failure to Monitor

We place loved ones in nursing homes because they are no longer able to take care of themselves. We expect that the nursing home staff will take care of their needs. Part of this responsibility includes monitoring them regularly to make sure everything is OK.

In particular, nursing home staff are expect to monitor:

  • Prevention and treatment of bedsores
  • Signs and symptoms of infection
  • Medication and any side effects
  • Nutrition and hydration
  • General safety

When nursing homes fail to monitor residents, they can sustain serious injury, illness or death. Failure to monitor can happen as a result of understaffing or inadequate policies. But there is never any excuse for it. We hold nursing homes accountable for their failure to monitor loved ones in their care.

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Decatur, GA 30030
Phone: (404) 378-5878
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